Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Repent and Rest

I stumbled across a verse in the bible the other day that has had me thinking about it ever since.

Isaiah 30:15 says, 
"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'" (NIV)

Generally, when I think about salvation I look to verses like Romans 10:10, 
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, 
and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." 

or Ephesians 2:8 
"For is it by grace you have been saved - through faith..." 

Perhaps I might turn to Mark 16:16 
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved..." 

or John 10:9 
"I am the gate, whoever enters through me will me saved."  

The verse I have not turned to much (or at all) regarding salvation is Isaiah 30:15.  And honestly I didn't really understand it when I read it yesterday.  I get that we need repentance to be saved, but how does "rest" play into salvation?  So I did what all good seminary students should do and looked up what the original Hebrew said.  

Yeah, that didn't help at all!  

Perhaps it's the fact that I haven't actually taken Hebrew yet, but I got no help from that.  So then I looked up the verse in multiple translations to see if that clarified things.  That helped a little bit, the HCSB said, " You will be delivered by returning and resting."  The NET said, "If you repented and patiently waited for me, you would be delivered."  Ok, that makes a little more sense.

Once I added the Biblical context of this verse, it all started to come together.  You see the Israelites were God's chosen people and He longed for His people to be saved.  Yet they kept turning away from Him.  They would repent yes, but then in the next moment they would run from Him, sometimes in fear, sometimes because of pride, and sometimes for a variety of other reasons.  Finally God said, through Isaiah, just stop!!!  Stop running from me.  Repent.  And then rest.  Stop turning away from me.  Stop running from.  I know you are scared, but rest in my presence, that is where salvation will come from. But the Israelites would have none of it.  They continued the pattern of repenting and running.

Much like the ancient Israelites, I think we tend to do the same thing today.  We repent of our sin and we turn away from it.  We turn toward God and things start looking pretty good.  But then something happens, any variety of things, and we get scared, or prideful, or hurt, or __________(fill in the blank); and instead of resting in Him, His strength, His peace, His presence, we turn away from Him, we run.  Maybe we run toward our own sense of financial security, maybe we run to a sin, maybe we run to material possessions, or something that will allow us to take a break from the reality we are facing; wherever or whatever it is we choose to run to during moments like this, it is not Him.  

In repentance and rest (resting in Him) is your salvation.  Salvation will not be found in financial security, escapes from reality, material possessions or whatever else you are turning to.  It will only be found in Him.  Returning to Him, patiently waiting on Him.  That is where salvation is found.

Repent and then rest.  Rest in Him.